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Director/ Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery

05/26/2021 11:20 AM | Tennessee Association Of Museums (Administrator)

Working Title: Director, Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery

Position Summary:

The University seeks a Director who will secure progress and spur growth. The new director will work with the University Art Collections Committee and the Arts Council, Gallery staff and stakeholders to continue to build upon the Gallery’s mission and implement a strategic plan. This person should be able to fully engage community stakeholders, tap into existing and new resources, and execute their vision.

The Director of the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery will be a part of the Library Administration team and report to the Office of the Provost. The Director helps to create and share the vision for gallery exhibitions, programs, and the collections through frequent discussion with Gallery staff, faculty, students, administrators and donors.

About the Work Unit:

Vanderbilt University is a tier one academic research institution, ranked 15th in the nation in the U.S. News and World Report survey. The University’s location in Nashville provides access to a nationally-recognized, vibrant arts community, complete with music, theatre and a thriving museum and gallery scene. Founded in 1928, the University Fine Arts Gallery is housed in a Beaux-Arts historic building designed by McKim, Mead and White. The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery Collection, established in the 1920s, contains over 8,000 objects which demonstrate the broad scope of Eastern and Western art, from antiquity through old master traditions, and continuing through modern and contemporary art practices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Gallery’s collection is a critical component of the multiple rare and distinctive collections in the areas of medicine, music, literature, world history and culture, political science, and religion housed within the Vanderbilt Libraries.

The value of cultural heritage materials to immersive and experiential learning is well established at Vanderbilt, and its faculty, among the top in the nation, are active partners in the growth of the collections. With an emphasis on an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional approach to all of its activities, the gallery promotes engagement with the visual arts among students and the greater community and supports the academic enterprise of Vanderbilt University as a whole.

The Fine Arts Gallery’s mission is to promote engagement with the visual arts among students and the greater community through exhibitions, collections, research, and instruction. With an emphasis on an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional approach to all of its activities, the gallery is committed to supporting the academic enterprise of Vanderbilt University as a whole, while advancing artistic excellence. The gallery and its core collection were established as a tool to support teaching. It has remained such and increasingly has become a trans-institutional resource. Future collecting should be responsive to University teaching, with touch points to and among multiple disciplines that while including the study of art and history of art, should also broaden its scope to reflect its new position within the University. Examples of teaching applications gleaned from a recent faculty survey include such disparate subjects as gender issues, race, religion, nature and the environment, architecture, class issues and sexuality.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

 Partners with the University Arts Council and Libraries to shape and further the institutional mission and goals. Maintains and enhances the Gallery as an outstanding cultural destination. Provides curatorial oversight and direction.

 Manages operations of the Gallery, including the supervision of two full-time staff, and indirectly through the gallery registrar/collections manager and curator, student interns and student work-study employees.

 Contributes to the goals and initiatives of the University's art community and broader campus.

 Serves as liaison to all the schools, programs and departments of the University in the area of visual arts, art collections, and exhibitions.

 Ensures the smooth operation of the Gallery and its exhibitions and acquisitions, events and programs.

 Enhances the active growth of the institution through private, corporate and grant funding. Cultivates donors and maintains relationships.

 Prepares and operates within annual and capital budgets.

 Oversees promotion of the Gallery to increase audiences and participation. Oversees publications, website and social media. Provides a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

 Actively engages the community, locally and regionally. Is the face of the Gallery and visible at internal and external events. Creates new partnerships and beneficial collaborations.

 Works closely with the University Art Collections Committee and the Arts Council, providing an innovative approach to the development of the Gallery’s programs and services as a teaching collection for faculty, students, researchers, and the community.

 Provides inspiration, oversight, and project management for all Gallery exhibitions while working closely with Gallery staff.

 Maintains memberships in professional organizations and promotes the Gallery through presentations at academic conference.

 In conjunction with University development and grants departments, leads efforts to initiate, write and submit grants for Gallery initiatives.

Supervisory Relationships:

This position has supervisory responsibility over gallery staff, students and interns; the position reports administratively and functionally to the Associate University Librarian.

Education and Certifications:

 A Master's degree in art history from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary. PhD is preferred.

Experience and Skills:

 Respect for the impact that cultural heritage materials can have on education is necessary.

 Appreciation of the benefits of collaboration among Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) collections is necessary.

 At least ten years of relevant professional experience in a university museum or gallery, including at least five years in a supervisory capacity are necessary.

 Demonstrated success reporting to and building support of an advisory council is necessary.

 Ability to work cooperatively and effectively with Gallery staff, faculty, students, researchers and in community relations, student engagement and outreach capacities is necessary.

 Strong acumen in management of operations, including the administration, development and oversight of personnel is necessary.

 Broad and deep connections in the art museum world are necessary.

 Demonstrated success in donor relations and other skills and experience related to fund-raising in close tandem with the offices of Development and Alumni Relations are necessary.

 Cultural competence and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion are necessary.

 Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are necessary.

 Experience providing instruction to classes and individuals is necessary.

 Experience with methods of scholarly research in art is necessary.

 Knowledge of collection development practices in art and architectural history, art, design, and curatorial studies is necessary.

 Ability to work collaboratively and independently, and to handle multiple priorities is necessary.

 Ability to attend evening and weekend openings, programs and donor events is necessary.

 Potential for satisfying the University Libraries Rank & Promotion requirements is necessary.

 Familiarity with digital humanities is necessary.

 Knowledge of digital technologies, web design and social media; demonstrated ability to learn and use emerging technologies in innovative ways is preferred.

 Positions of leadership in national organizations are preferred.

 Experience planning and leading a strategic plan is preferred.

 A record of assisting with or accomplishing successful fundraising, including soliciting major gifts, overseeing events, and writing grants is preferred.

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit:

ACCOUNTABILITY: Owns decisions, outcomes, work products, etc. that are within the scope of one’s role.

COLLABORATION: Works inclusively to build trust and accomplish tasks, goals, and initiatives. Understands, anticipates, and appropriately responds to internal and/or external customers’ needs.

COMMUNICATION: Provides information clearly and accurately in various settings, ensuring understanding and participation. Understands how best to present information to different audiences and understands how information may be perceived.

DRIVE & GRIT: Is focused on professional excellence and strives to facilitate and support the same for colleagues in and outside their team, effectively manages through challenges and opportunities while seeking to understand and learn from professional experiences.

ENGAGED: Appreciates the values and mission of the organization, works to contribute to the university, and understands how their work affects the university and university community.

JUDGMENT & PROFESSIONAL ACUMEN: Makes appropriate decisions and evaluates risk and uncertainty to create ideal outcomes, exhibits an eye for the macro and the micro, and works to ensure others are able to do the same.

COMMITMENT TO CULTURE OF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: Supports the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and demonstrates personal dedication through words and actions.


PO Box 330984   Nashville, TN 37203   (615) 495-3354   tnmuseums@gmail.com

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